LED-ringlight with "flash": Any suggestions and a little review

JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
edited January 2013 in Gear Reviews
Hi guys,

last year I ordered this LED-ringlight: http://www.aputure.com/en/product/amaran_led_lightflash.php Before, I was also corresponding with doerr foto, as they offer a variation of ringlights, too. But the one I wanted had only adapters up to M72 and 80 LEDs and the other up to M77 had only 16 LEDs - I thought that might be a bit few.

The parcel came yesterday, here are some first impressions and also some dimensions, the manufactures didn't specify:

It comes with a collection of 7 adapter-rings, from M49 to M77. Manufacturing quality is good, the cable a bit stiff, the connector to the hot shoe is metal and a set of 3 additional, isolated contacts plus the isolated sync-contact are also there. Although I don't get the purpose of the additional contacts, except, that the unit switches off, when the camera is also switched off. Fixation to the hot-shoe with a thread ring is well done.

The unit comes with a battery housing, which can also be used to fix the ringlight, then you get a "normal" video light. The battery housing has a dimmer for the LEDs which is also the ON/OFF switch, 4 Control LEDs and 3 buttons. One engages the "flash mode", the other the continuos lighting mode and the third toggles all 60 LEDs ON or only the left/right half of the ring. The ring itself can be fixed and unmounted with a quick release. And it's not fixed, the ring can be turned when mounted to the lens. The lighting-unit is light weight (app. 75 grams/2.64 ounces) so no problem with lenses with a moving tube.

The lighting unit's inner diameter is only 64 mm and the length 23 mm. This reduces the range of lenses to be used with. 
  • No 24/1.4 G (in general, no wide-angles or wide-angle zooms)
  • No 85/1.4 G (pity, I thought it could be a nice add-on for portraits)
  • No Sigma 35/1.4
The lighting unit is covered by a translucent plastic ring, but to get out most of the light, Aputure hasn't made it as opaque as possible. The single LEDs are always visible when the unit is reflected by glossy surfaces. Also, the inner diameter has a rounded edge, so a small part of the light is emitted directly to the front glass and causes that kind of light the lens-hoods should prevent. I think, I'll cover that part with a black tape.

Now, the "flash" function emits more light than the continuous mode but must be found out with trial and error. When setting exposure-correction to -2.5 f-stops there was an okay-relation between focus- and flash-light (in flash-mode, there are still LEDs on to focus and check the light in advance.

Light quality is a bit odd. I know, there are some differences between just white LED and daylight white LED, but even after I made a preset, the light colour was not neutral. So I tried 3 different gray cards: 
  1. seculine, 
  2. colorchecker passport 
  3. and an old Kodak gray card.
When adjusting the white balance in Aperture, I got this values:
  1. 5544K / 35
  2. 5695K / 21
  3. 5333K / 27
Best appears to be the seculine card - good to know for me. The others were more or less greenish. But then, the LEDs are not at all "daylight character". Aputure claims 5500K±300K and so far that's true, but with an unfortunate tendency to green. So far I didn't check if dimming the lights makes another difference, but if you use the ringlight under daylight conditions, you'll get a not so pleasant light combination. The power of the lights is not enough to oversteer bright daylight in a distance of more than 25cm / 10 inches.

After all: in studio-condition you get a relatively cold light-source for macro close-ups without harsh shadows, or to snap your coin collection, you get a lot value. For portraits and for use in the wild it gets accomplicated because of the light temperature and the lack of power. 

And I almost forgot: Have you made better experiences with another product?
Post edited by JJ_SO on


  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,545Moderator
    Interesting post JJ.  I am just about to pull the trigger on one and your problems with white balance make me wonder whether it is a good idea.  It does make me laugh that mine comes with 7 rings 52 - 77mm diameter in the kit but if the hole through the flash head is smaller, well, that is stoopid.  I should be OK with the 62mm filter ring on the 60mm AF-D micro though.

    What GN is yours?  Mine is stated as GN15 but from what you say we will have to wait and see.
    Always learning.
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    I can try to calculate the GN, but Aputure doesn't specify on. I'm also suspecting, at this price they could not guarantee that the LEDs don't vary to much. For macro you don't need a high GN, do you?

    With 62 and the 105/2.8 Micor Nikkor it works as nicely as with the 40/2.8 DX micro Nikkor. I do have purpose for it where white balance is not critical since B/W will do. And for potraits, this could do the trick: http://www.lb-ag.ch/store/de/objektive/objektiv-zubehoer/rf-roundflash
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    At least it's a perfect thing to hide behind, if you need to laugh your guts off...  :D
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,545Moderator
    edited January 2013
    Hah!  Good one.   =))
    Post edited by spraynpray on
    Always learning.
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